Over at Jaunted.com, they’ve been following the journey of the Newbie Traveler, a young man making his first trip abroad. Now that the noob has successfully crossed borders without causing an international incident, he’s compiled this list of 10 bits of advice he has for other people making their first trek abroad.
1. Get a passport: Kind of a gimme, right? But the Newbie Traveler polled his friends and found that 80% of them didn’t have a valid passport. And really, the trip won’t happen if you can’t get on the plane.
2. Not all power adapters are created equal: If you’re traveling to both the UK and mainland Europe, you’ll find you need two — or a truly universal — power adapter to make sure you can plug in everywhere.
3. Make the necessary phone calls before your trip: Some phone calls you’ll definitely want to make before departing, include your bank, cell phone, health insurance.
4. Meet a local: If you don’t know someone in at your destination, sites like CouchSurfing.org can hook you up with people who would love to show you around their town. Says, the noob, “I did a quick search for people in the London area and over 1,000 results came back.”
5. Don’t be ashamed to use a map: Don’t care about whether or not people think you’re a tourist. Getting lost can be a lot worse than getting laughed at.
6. Never forget you’re in another country: “Be open minded and ready for new experiences while showing respect for your host country,” says the Newbie Traveler, who suggests the World Customs & Cultures app for iPhone users.
7. Fight jet lag: Don’t waste your time sleeping during the day in your hotel room. Try to sleep on the flight and do your best to adjust ASAP to your new time zone.
8. Use public transportation: “If the locals can figure it out, you can too.”
9. Be in the moment: “Don’t keep your head buried in guidebooks,” says the NT. “You’re traveling to participate, for the opportunity to experience other cultures and ways of life. You want to look back on your journey and remember that you really existed there–if only just for a moment.”
10. Oh, and bring comfortable shoes: Sometimes you’ll have to sacrifice fashion for comfort, especially if you plan on hours of walking each day.
What other tips have you all learned from your travels?